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Since cataracts usually develop slowly, the problems they cause have a habit of creeping up on us – that is, until they become too frustrating to ignore.
That’s exactly what happened to Saroj Parmar until she had her cataract surgery at Midland Eye in 2020.
Saroj, who actually works at Midland Eye as a Theatre Practitioner, was all too aware of the damage that cataracts can have on long-term vision, and decided to have surgery done to correct the problem.
“I first noticed that I had vision trouble at night when I was driving home from work. I could still see and it was safe to drive – but things weren’t as clear as before”, said Saroj.
“I also started having trouble reading at home and at work – which made me realise I needed to do something to prevent further issues. It wasn’t as though I was completely unaware that I had cataracts. I’d had a routine eye test about a year before. The optician said my eyes were starting to show the first signs, but that surgery might still be a long way off. As it turned out, however, they got a lot worse over the next few months.”
Professor Sunil Shah, a world-renowned Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, confirmed Saroj had significant cataracts, and recommended she have corrective surgery on both eyes.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens which is essential for focusing images on to the retina. Surgery is the only treatment for cataracts and involves an operation to restore the sight. The cataract, or cloudy lens, is replaced with a clear artificial lens which remains clear for a lifetime. Approximately 430,000 cataract operations are performed each year in England alone, with around 30% of people aged 65 years or older having a visually impairing cataract in one or both eyes.
Within a few days of her consultation with Professor Shah, Saroj was back at Midland Eye to undergo an advanced laser cataract removal procedure, called a femto laser-assisted cataract surgery.
Midland Eye is one of only a handful of specialist eye centres to have the cutting-edge technology to enable surgeons like Professor Shah to operate. The surgery takes only a few minutes and involves making precise cuts to remove the cataract. It’s more precise than ordinary manual cataract removal and is favoured by many specialist cataract surgeons.
“It’s a remarkable procedure using state-of-the-art equipment”, says Prof Shah. “The femto laser surgery replaces many of the steps during cataract surgery that require a blade and softens the cataract, allowing for an easier and smoother removal.”
“Saroj does a fantastic job working with the team at Midland Eye so naturally we were pleased to play a part in restoring her vision. Cataracts can be extremely serious and Saroj really did require this operation, so it’s good she came to us when she did. The longer she left it, the worse her vision would’ve got. This could’ve ultimately led to blindness,” said Prof Shah.
As a theatre practitioner at the specialist eye clinic, Saroj knew what was involved in the operation, but still felt a bit of nervousness beforehand. However, that anxiety was short-lived and the procedure was an unqualified success:
“It was a truly exceptional outcome”, said Saroj. “I had no reason to worry– the whole procedure was perfection, painless and seamless throughout. They placed a cloth over my eye and within a few minutes I was good as new. It really was incredible”.
“Post-op recovery was quick. I noticed a remarkable improvement virtually straightaway and was seeing 20/20 vision within a few days. I could go home the same day of the operation and had a check-up a few days later to make sure things were OK. I did take a few days off from work to give my eyes a chance to rest but there was no need in hindsight as my eyes were totally fine!
Thanks to the care and expertise that Saroj received from her colleagues at Midland Eye, all of whom are consultants and experts in opthalmology, Saroj’s quality of life has dramatically improved.
“The first time I could see actually see after the operation, the colours were incredibly vivid. It was like seeing things in Full HD. I’m back to reading all font sizes, driving without issues and can do intricate work in theatre without a worry. I can now share my first-hand experience with patients who are about to go in for the same operation, and reassure them that they’ll be fine.”
Professor Shah recently won a prestigious international award for his work on developing a device that could help treat debilitating corneal infections.
Find out more about cataract surgery at Midland Eye and book your appointment here.